Canterbury football ref allegedly abused by fan

TONY SMITH
Last updated 05:00 01/07/2013

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Mainland Football will investigate allegations a match official was grabbed around the neck by a spectator after a premier league game in Christchurch, as Canterbury's winter of sporting dissent and discontent continued.

Chief executive Mike Coggan said last night Mainland officials would act once reports were submitted on the incident at English Park after the Western-Cashmere Technical match on Saturday.

Match officials were verbally harassed by Western supporters after some controversial decisions in the match won 4-1 by Cashmere Technical.

Two Western players were sent off after receiving two yellow cards while some club supporters objected to the officials' decision to award Cashmere Technical a penalty and allow a goal they claimed was offside.

Frustrations spilled over after the final whistle with referee Isaac Trevis confronted by Western players after a post-match sending off of Alan Fergusson.

An altercation took place at the tunnel entrance to the English Park dressing rooms as Trevis and his two assistant referees (also known as linesmen) left the arena.

A bystander, who declined to be named, saw the incident. He said a "collision" occurred as the three match officials approached the tunnel.

"The [Western] supporter stood his ground - I don't think he moved across - and one of the linesman bumped into him. The supporter took umbrage at that and grabbed him around the neck. "The spectator was then restrained by fellow supporters.

"It was a very sad incident," said the bystander, who felt the spectator's reaction was "way out of order". Another source said the linesman was "pretty cut up" after the incident.

The Press spoke to the spectator last night. He confirmed an incident had happened but he refused to comment further.

Trevis - a national league official regarded as one of Canterbury's top football referees - also declined to discuss the matter.

He said it was being handled by Mainland Football referee development officer Wayne Stapley and referees committee chief Paul Dalziel.

Stapley, who was at the game but did not see the confrontation, said an incident did happen but he would not comment further because the match officials' reports had not yet been submitted.

Mainland Football's website listed Hayden McCabe and Cameron Gruschow as Trevis' assistant referees (or linesmen) with Wayne Elcock as the fourth official.

In other incidents in Canterbury sport this season:

- Mainland Football fined Waimak United $4000 - the largest penalty in the federation's 13-year history - after a referee was pushed in an incident after a Canterbury first division game in May. Waimak players Brad Stewart (10 games) and Ben Thomas (six months) and coach David Lay (two games) were also suspended. The fine was imposed after Mainland Football found three Waimak officials had deliberately deceived the disciplinary committee at an appeal hearing in June.

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- But football is not the only Canterbury code challenged by poor player and spectator behaviour in 2013. Incidents have been reported in hockey and league.

- The Press

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